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Small Cars: Chevrolet Sonic
Interested in buying a domestic vehicle but want to make sure it’s as reliable as can be? AutoGuide has compiled a list of the most reliable vehicle in its respective segment based on Consumer Reports’ 2013 predicted reliability results from the 2013 Annual Auto Survey.
Making its way on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick for 2012 is the all-new Buick Verano. This raises General Motors IIHS Top Safety Pick award count to 14 in 2012 – not too shabby.
Equipped with 10 standard air bags, the Verano came out with a good score in the IIHS tests for front and side crash tests, roof strength test, and rear impact test. The Verano also features standard electronic stability control, which the IIHS requires for Top Safety Pick designation.
“GM set a goal that every new product would be designed to meet or exceed the third-party metrics that IIHS and others use to communicate crash worthiness to consumers,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety. “We are now seeing the results from that commitment.”
Of the GM vehicles that made it to IIHS’s 2012 Top Safety Pick award list, 13 models had previously qualified for the 2011 award. These vehicles were carried over to 2012 because its structure is substantially the same as the IIHS tested for 2011. Carrying over for 2012 awards are the Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Enclave; the Chevrolet Cruze, Sonic, Volt, Equinox, Malibu and Traverse; the Cadillac CTS (sedan) and SRX, and GMC Terrain and Acadia.
With the new Verano compact luxury sedan on sale this year, Buick will look to expand its offerings in a green direction with a hybrid version. The news comes via a list of suppliers printed by Automotive News, detailing all of the companies and parts involved in the current Verano.
According to the published data the Verano is set to get a 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain, likely the next-generation of the current 2.4-liter hybrid used in the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco. It’s also expected that the Verano hybrid’s system will be a version of GM’s eAssist mild-hybrid technology.
In the new hybrid Malibu the eAssist system delivers fuel economy of 26/38-mpg. In a smaller car, look for city mileage to approach 30-mpg, with a 40-mpg rating at least.
Have your heart set on a hybrid compact Buick, but don’t have the funds? Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to save up, with the car not set to arrive until 2015.
GALLERY: 2012 Buick Verano
Rumors of a Chevrolet Cruze 3-door hatchback appear to be just that, after an interview with General Motors North American President Mark Reuss surfaced, stating that the Cruze is too late in its North American product cycle for a hatchback.
On the other hand, reports are emerging that Buick may get a hatchback version of the Opel Astra GTC, which could end up being a variant of the Verano (shown above). The new car is expected to bow in 2014, and hopefully the Verano Turbo’s 2.0L 4-cylinder making 250 horsepower is offered. Buick will have to plan carefully for this product, as GM’s Saturn division has already tried importing a version of the Astra, and was met with an utterly dismal response from consumers.
[Source: GM Inside News]
With the launch of the all-new Cruze-based Verano due soon, a turbocharged version will follow shortly. Initially the car will be offered with a 177-hp 2.4-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder. Starting in the Fall of 2012 (as a 2013 model) the Verano Turbo will borrow the Regal GS’s 2.0T engine which will be slightly detuned to deliver 250-hp.
The info comes via a leaked detail sheet on the Verano Turbo, which also lists a claimed 6.5 second 0-60 mph time with more aggressive gear ratios (although no compromise on fuel economy). 17-inch wheels will also be standard, as will a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s not clear if GM plans to offer a six-speed manual with this model – although considering the Regal GS gets one, it’s certainly a possibility.
GALLERY: 2012 Buick Verano
Discuss this story at VerantoTalk.com
For all the dismissive attitudes surrounding GM CEO Dan Akerson, his latest machinations seem particularly astute, even if they don’t quite jibe with the tastes of “car guys”.
For months, Akerson has been creating a contingency plan for when oil prices rise to $120 per barrel. Akerson is on record stating that “I don’t think the industry learned a lot of lessons from 2008 — they will this time around,” and who can blame the guy. GM was sunk last time around in part because there were too many SUVs and trucks sitting on dealer lots when gas prices were high and credit was unavailable.
Cars like the Chevrolet Cruze, Sonic (above) and Buick Verano should help flesh out a lineup that was devoid of small cars during the last crisis, and Akerson has also demanded that the company find ways to reduce the cost of the Chevrolet Volt by $10,000. GM sources say that the goal has nearly been achieved, and that the Volt could either see an increase in production, a price cut – or more likely, a bump in profits for GM.
[Source: Detroit News]
A few months ago the Granite concept, the darling of GMC’s display at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, was slated to enter production. But GM internal management never confirmed it, and the matter was dropped. Now, the GMC Granite has been given the go-ahead for production…again.
Motor Trend reports, from a source within GM, that the Granite will enter production—and will even keep the trick rear-hinged suicide doors from the 2010 concept. It rides on the same C-Segment platform that’s shared by the Chevrolets Volt and Cruze, the Buick Verano, and Opel Astra, and closely shares its floorpan (as well as its functionality and overall shape) with the Chevy Orlando, the too-hot-for-America mini-MPV that GM will sell in Europe, Asia, and Canada.
Except, well, the Granite is more “professional-grade,” which apparently means that the model will live on without a B-pillar, necessitating plenty of reinforcement from the quarter-panels to the roof. This might overwhelm the 138-horsepower turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder and six-speed transmission, that the Granite will share with the Cruze. Hopefully there will be other engine options available (such as the Buick Verano’s 177-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four, as MT suggests) to ensure that the Granite won’t be as slow as its namesake.
It’s not yet clear if GMC intends to also go ahead with the Granite Compact Pick Up.
Although there is no high-performance version of the Chevrolet Cruze, its platform-mate, the Buick Verano, could see a GS version sometime in the future, according to GM’s Ed Wellburn, a senior figure in the General’s design department.
Wellburn claimed that GM was “toying” with the idea of a Verano GS, and that concept sketches have been completed, but that customer reaction to the Verano will need to be gauged before any hot versions can be produced. Wellburn also mentioned that a Verano Hybrid was a possible addition to the lineup but declined to give specifics.
[Source: egm Car Tech]
Continuing Buick‘s model rollout the stereotypical old-man-brand is looking for further growth down-market with the introduction of the new Verano. Billed as its first ever model in the compact luxury segment, the folks at Buick might be being purposefully ignorant of the ’80s Skyhawk – although arguably a compact, it could hardly be called a luxury car.
Based on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, the Verano shares many of the same suspension parts including the Watts Z-link rear end that was designed to offer the best attributes of an independent rear suspension (namely, handling and ride comfort) with the best parts of a torsion beam setup (being lighter, less expensive and taking up less space). The Cruze already provides a comfortable ride and when combined with extensive ‘Quiet tuning’ with plenty of additional noise dampening and canceling devices, the Verano promises a true Buick ride.
As rumored, under the hood, the Verano will get GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder, delivering a sizable step up in performance over the Cruze. Power is rated at 177-hp and 170 ft-lbs of torque and when matched to a six-speed automatic will achieve 31-mpg on the highway. Buick is also planning to offer a version of its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which makes 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque in the Regal Turbo. A 0-60 mph time of 8.0 seconds is promised for the base engine, so look for a turbo model that might dip into the 6s.
Inside Buick promises true luxury, although don’t expect too much with a rumored starting price of around $20,000. Still, standard and optional features include a pretty impressive list of goodies like a push-button ignition, dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel.
Perhaps more important is the overall refinement with soft-touch materials throughout, ambient lighting and minimal gaps between panels. Although if Buick is looking for a younger demographic they might have wanted to pass on the woodgrain accenting that’s certain to look as genuine as a made-in-Taiwan Louis Vuitton bag.
Outside the Verano is styled more like the large LaCrosse than the Regal, with a prominent waterfall grille. Standard rolling hardware includes 17-inch wheels, although 18s are optional.
Get more Buick Verano news and info at VeranoTalk.com
GALLERY: 2012 Buick Verano
Official release after the jump:
Buick has already announced that it will bring to market a new compact model in the near future, riding on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze and going by the name Verano. Little else has been revealed about the car – until now.
According to a leaked dealer survey, the Verano will be offered exclusively with the automaker’s 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Ecotec motor producing 180-hp and 172 ft-lbs of torque and use a 6-speed automatic transmission. That’s a good step up from the 138-hp 1.4-liter in the Cruze and should provide for decent acceleration – although the Buick is likely to weight a bit more due to added content.
As for content, most models will come with cloth seats, with a top-level luxury trim featuring content like a push-button start, 18-inch wheels, heated seats and even a heated steering wheel – a first for the compact segment.
Pricing will range from $20,900 to $26,200 for the top trim.
As this is just a survey for dealers, it’s intended to gather feedback so GM can make final decisions. That being said, specifics like price and trim levels aren’t set in stone, but expect them to be close.
Get more Buick Verano news and info at VeranoTalk.com
For a full list of the dealer survey trim levels, see after the jump:
Buick‘s upcoming Verano subcompact, a twin of the Chevrolet Cruze, will be built at GM’s Orion, Michigan plant alongside the upcoming Chevrolet Aveo.
The announcement comes as part of GM revealing details of their $145 million investment in the plant, which is expected to retain 1,550 jobs as well. The Verano is currently for sale in the Chinese market as a locally built premium concept. The Excelle, as the Verano is known in China, is powered by a 1.6L 180 horsepower turbo 4-cylinder.
[Source: General Motors]
General Motors is looking to expand the Buick lineup to between 6 or 7 vehicles from its current 4. Buick is looking to add product as it attempts to lure buyers away from import luxury brands and attract a much younger audience as it shed its image as a car for retirees.
Among the products Buick is looking to introduce are the Chevrolet Cruze-based Verano compact, a hybrid version of the Lacrosse and a small crossover below the Enclave. Buick is also reportedly looking at introducing a full-size rear-drive sedan that may revive the Park Avenue nameplate.
The decision to jettison the Pontiac nameplate over Buick, which was perceived as a brand thats customer base was literally dying off, but Buick’s incredibly strong image in China, as well as their infusion of new product has led many to feel that the General made a smart choice.
[Source: Automotive News]
In 2012 Buick will expand its lineup further down-market, introducing the Verano compact below the Regal. Riding on the same architecture as the Chinese Buick Excelle (and Chevy Cruze), several engines are possible. For starters it could be offered with the Cruze’s 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, but a more likely candidate is the 181-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter currently offered on the Excelle GT in China.
After this model debuts we’ll see Buick unveil a compact crossover called the Encore. The basis for this vehicle is not entirely known, with different sources claiming it will be based on the Cruze architecture, while others suggest it will run on the upcoming Aveo platform – suggesting it will be a small vehicle indeed.
In related Buick news, before 2012 we’re set to receive a hybrid version of the LaCrosse and past 2012 GM has indicated plans to build a new Buick flagship based on the same platform as the upcoming Cadillac XTS.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Buick has just unveiled its new Excelle GT model in China, which is set to go on sale in the U.S. next year. When it does arrive here the baby Buick may be badged as the Verano. Based on the same compact-car platform as the European Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze, the Excelle GT joins the recently unveiled Excelle XT – a five-door hatchback that Buick insists is a coupe-like sedan.
In China the base engine is a 138-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, while a more potent version gets 181-hp from a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder.
With Buick just having launched the Regal in North America, the Verano represents the next step for the brand, searching to find customers as it expands into new segments, offering luxury in the compact segment. Reports have suggested Buick will also build a compact crossover based on the Verano, possibly naming it the Encore.
GALLERY: Buick Excelle GT/Verano
Thanks to some U.S. patent drawings obtained by Carscoop, we now have a good idea what the upcoming Buick Excelle (possibly named Verano) will look like. The drawings are, at this point, a bit redundant, as we’ve already seen spy photos of the car fully revealed in China. The drawings do, however, confirm the U.S. version is essentially identical to the one we’ve already viewed, taking plenty of styling cues from the LaCrosse.
Based on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, the Excelle/Verano slots in underneath the Regal in Buick’s lineup and is expected to get either the 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor with 138-hp, or a larger 1.6-liter turbocharged motor (currently used in the Opel Astra Hatch) that makes 180-hp. Recent spy photos of an Excelle GT have also raised speculation that the car might be offered in high-end GS trim when it arrive in the U.S. with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque.
GALLERY: Buick Excelle Patent Drawings